DfT awards £1.95 million to UK transport innovation and efficiency projects

Posted: 14 April 2022 | | No comments yet

As part of the UK government’s Transport Research and Innovation Grant programme, 51 projects that are working to create a more efficient transport system have been awarded a share of £1.95 million in Department for Transport funding.

DfT awards £1.95 million to UK transport innovation and efficiency projects

Entrepreneurs and innovators that are pioneering new ways of creating a more efficient transport system are being backed by new UK government funding that was announced on 13 April 2022. In total, 51 projects have been awarded a share of £1.95 million in Department for Transport (DfT) funding as part of the government’s Transport Research and Innovation Grant (TRIG) programme, representing the largest number of projects backed in the programme’s history.

Transport Minister Trudy Harrison said: “Innovation funded as part of TRIG could be the key to unlocking a more efficient and safer transport system for tomorrow. I support the ingenious ideas of [2022’s] cohort every step of the way and wish the successful applicants all the very best. I look forward to seeing the ideas develop to boost our green agenda and create high-skilled jobs across the UK.”

Now in its 11th round of funding, the TRIG programme, delivered in partnership with Connected Places Catapult, brings together talented start-ups – mainly small- and medium-enterprises (SMEs) and universities – and policymakers at the earliest stage of innovation to help to enhance the UK’s transport system. Since launching in 2014, over £6 million in grants has supported more than 200 TRIG projects.

In 2022, the programme focused on increasing the diversity of its applicants. From Southampton to the Shetland Islands, the winning projects are based across the UK and reflect DfT’s commitments to levelling up.

The winners were selected based on four key themes:

  1. Maritime decarbonisation
  2. Future of freight
  3. COVID-19 recovery
  4. Transport resilience.

For the first time, six ‘Future of freight’ grants worth £100,000 each were piloted for larger projects, moving them past ‘proof of concept’ and towards being demonstration-ready. These will complement the remaining 45 grants of up to £30,000 each, spread across all four themes.

UK government dedicates £7 billion to overhaul transport outside of London

DfT will also be working in partnership with Connected Places Catapult in 2022 to pilot an Innovation Accelerator Programme, which will support companies at a later stage in their innovation journeys. The programme will provide funding to help projects to take the last step towards the market by providing bespoke training from industry experts.

Rachel Gardner-Poole, Connected Places Catapult’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “TRIG is a one-of-a-kind programme. It provides a mechanism to identify and support early-stage innovation that might slip through the nets of traditional funding routes. Connected Places Catapult is extremely proud to deliver TRIG 2022, which is supporting over 50 innovators across four different challenges, including the future of freight, maritime decarbonisation, COVID-19 recovery and resilient transport systems. I am excited to see what great products and services arise.”

One winner, Makesense Technology Ltd, will develop a technology to guide visually impaired people through the public transport network. A handheld device will scan the area and provide touch feedback, such as a vibration to the tablet holder, alerting them to any obstacles and their direction of travel.

AJEA Products Ltd is also among those awarded funding, creating autonomous flood protection for critical transport infrastructure. It will design self-deploying barriers that can be installed at train stations across the UK and pop up automatically when floods are detected, preventing passenger journeys from being disrupted by extreme weather.

Meanwhile, Unitrove Innovation Ltd is being backed to develop a control system for the world’s first liquid hydrogen fuel container facility for zero-emission ships.

Additionally, the University of Cambridge is developing a new low-cost and lightweight steering system for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), which will reduce tyre wear, reduce carbon emissions and make it easier for larger vehicles to manoeuvre on the road.